Fall Landscape Tips from Down Under

To help us prep our lawn for fall, we spoke with Jamie Durie, award-winning landscape designer, environmentalist and host of HGTV’s The Outdoor Room. Here, Durie a native of Australia, shares his top lawn care and design tips.

LIP: Having grown up in Australia, do you now notice major differences between how Australians and Americans take care of their lawns?
JD: Just like Americans, Australians are taught to always make sure their gardens are well maintained. That being said, what most Americans don’t realize is that a good lawn should be made up of 75 percent sand. In Australia, we focus on that a lot. The reason being is that the sand granules help to circulate the air ensuring that the soil is getting the nutrients it needs.

LIP: For those of us without such a high sand content, is there anything else we can do to help circulate the air, especially as we prepare for fall?
JD: Be sure to aerate your lawn on a regular basis and especially in the fall before the cold weather sets in. If you don’t own an aerator, you can rent one or throw on a pair of aerating shoes! Aerating opens up your lawn’s soil structure to let in nitrogen, oxygen and other important nutrients such as potassium. It’s important to keep these levels balanced. Soil is so precious; it took nearly 100 years to build that one inch of topsoil in your yard.

LIP: Any other tips to keep in mind this season?
JD: Don’t throw away the garden and leaf debris you’ve collected during clean-ups. Instead, put it back into the soil. Start composting—it will work nutrients back into the soil. You can also start a worm farm with your kids. Worms eat their way through the soil and are one of the strongest organic fertilizers in the world.

LIP: Your show on HGTV is called The Outdoor Room. What’s an easy way readers can do this at home?
JD: The quickest trick is to light your garden. Having low-voltage outdoor lighting will entice you to sit outside and enjoy your landscape twice as much. I love to install globe lights and position them to shine a spotlight onto hedges and flowerbeds. As the days grow shorter in the fall, we’re coming home in the dark; this is a great way to enjoy the outdoors a little longer.

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.